Rob Gronkowski catches passes from Tom Brady at UCLA workout

Let the rumor mill swirl.

Tom Brady conducted private offseason drills Monday at UCLA. His workout partner? Rob Gronkowski.

“He saw I was in town for this [charity] basketball game,” Gronkowski told The Rush’s Jared Quay Campbell on Monday. “He was like, ‘Yo, Gronk, man, yo, Gronk, come throw with me in the morning.’ So I was like, ‘No problem. It’ll give me a warm-up to this basketball game tonight.’” was the first to report of the workout.

The future Hall of Fame tight end who won three Super Bowls catching passes from Brady announced his retirement in March. He’s 30 years old. He very clearly loved playing for the Patriots.

If he decided he wants to keep playing, he certainly got more football in the tank.

Does Monday’s sighting of him catching passes mean that Gronkowski’s thinking of canceling his retirement? No.

Will it launch a barrage of theories from eager Patriots fans that he is rethinking suiting up in the fall? Absolutely.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have made countless great connections -- don't expect any more. (Reuters)
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have made countless great connections -- don't expect any more. (Reuters)

Gronkowski quit playing football because he hurts. His body’s been beaten and broken beyond the average toll of an NFL player.

In a nine-season run with the Patriots, he achieved all there is to accomplish for an NFL tight end. In addition to his three rings, he made five Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors four times.

He made a boatload of money and claims he saved the entirety of the $54 million he made in salary, living off endorsement checks during his career.

He’s arguably the best tight end to every play the game of football.

There’s simply no reason for Gronkowski to contemplate a return to the game other than to satiate a desire to keeping playing.

With the physical and mental price of playing football becoming more apparent each day, the financial rewards for an already wealthy, accomplished man to keep putting his body on the line just don’t add up.

And the sighting of a considerably thinner Gronkowski at a media event in June all but confirms he wouldn’t be physically ready for a return to the game even if he decided at the last minute he wanted to.

But Brady-to-Gronkowski gets Patriots fans frothing, and rightfully so. It’s one of the great connections in the history of the game.

But catching passes from a friend on an empty field as he prepares for his upcoming football season is one thing.

Suiting up on Sundays and taking violent physical abuse is another. All signs point to Gronk being done with the latter.

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